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Travelling technocrats, embodied knowledges: Globalising privatisation in telecoms and water

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nina Laurie


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The decade from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s was a key moment in the unfolding of the global privatisation agenda. During this decade privatisation shifted from a nation-state project to become part of the structural adjustment measures associated with economic globalisation. These measures were not only promoted by international institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, but by a range of other organisations and actors who have received little attention. In particular, virtually no attention has been paid to the mid-level technocrats who enacted privatisation strategies and techniques. This paper focuses on these actors through the cases of New Zealand telecommunications engineers and British water engineers. In discussing the significance of these actors we argue for the unpacking of the messy histories, geographies and sociologies of privatisation using both publicly available documents and ethnographic methods. This will allow us to understand why certain courses of action were pursued in particular times and places, why other actions dropped out, and will reveal more about the national imaginaries and embodied knowledges underpinning the globalisation of privatisation. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Larner W, Laurie N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geoforum

Year: 2010

Volume: 41

Issue: 2

Pages: 218-226

ISSN (print): 0016-7185

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9398

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2009.11.005


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